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  • Writer's pictureFostering Christmas Team

Where Does Your Donation Money Go?

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

Last year, our organization received wishlists from more kids than ever — and, amazingly, we got more help than ever from our community! Our sponsors and donors came out in droves, giving us every resource to ensure that our foster kids had the best Christmas ever.

But what happens to your donation dollars once they enter our system? And what happens to extra money left over from the holidays? We’re here to answer these questions.

The “Christmas Miracle”-Making Process

When your donation enters our system, it’s recorded into our system with your name, along with any additional information (such as which fundraiser or cause the contribution is meant to go towards). We keep careful track of every contribution, and what’s available in the account.

As we get closer to the holidays, Fostering Christmas gets more and more wishlists from foster kids – sometimes, as late as the day before Christmas! Monetary donations can be a huge help in covering these last-minute lists. So, any wishlist that doesn’t get picked up by the week prior to Christmas is added to our shopping list. Additionally, any wishlist that comes back with an item missing or incomplete gets added to our shopping list as well.

From there, our team and a group of local volunteers head to the store to divide and conquer! Although we have volunteers pick out the items, the final order is handled specifically by our VP, Karli McNamee. She carefully vets what’s being purchased, and wields the bank card at the register. From there, she makes sure it all goes back to the office for sorting. Receipts are then totaled, added, and saved digitally for our records.

What About Extra Funds?

After the holidays, it might seem like Fostering Christmas doesn’t have much more to do – but we actually help foster kids all year long! In 2021, with extra funds, we purchased bags and suitcases for foster kids moving their belongings between houses. Many foster kids use trash bags to collect and transport their things. We worked directly with Idaho social care workers to ensure these kids got proper luggage for their valuable pieces of home.

This year, we’ve been able to do even more. So far, we’ve purchased diapers and wipes (for a couple of teenage foster kids with small children of their own), grocery gift cards, school and dorm supplies for teenagers heading to college (such as Tanner – click to read her story!), a bed for a teen in a new home, a prom dress, and many other needs that the state cannot supply for foster kids.

Just like when we buy supplies for Christmas wishlists, all out-of-season purchases are tracked. Receipts are stored digitally with the social worker’s name and the original request.

The organization does not use your donations to pay for labor or time – we pay out of pocket for that, and many of our resources. But we don’t help kids on our own; social workers contact us directly to fulfill other needs that these kids have, so 100% of your donations go directly to kids, every time. We also provide tax-exempt donation receipts to each donor at the end of the season, around mid-January.

If you ever have questions for us, don’t hesitate to contact us at! We’d be more than happy to answer. Once again, thank you so much for all your help! Your donations can truly make miracles happen. We help ensure they do by making every single dollar help a foster child in need.

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